Cranberries are a delicious and colorful addition to many baked goods and there are a couple of different ways to use them. Cranberries can be used raw – and are available fresh and frozen, depending on the time of year you are buying them – for a bright, tart flavor. Dried cranberries are a good option when you want cranberry flavor with more sweetness than fresh berries. Cranberry sauce can even be used for recipes that require a whole lot of cranberry. These muffins use roasted cranberries, for a completely different cranberry experience.
The roasted berries are much more plump than dried cranberries are because they have a lot more moisture. They are slightly less tart than an uncooked cranberry and have a more concentrated cranberry flavor. While roasting the cranberries does mean that these Roasted Cranberry Coconut Muffins require an extra step, the process is very easy and will only take a few additional minutes. To make them, whole cranberries – I used fresh, but frozen berries can also be used – are roasted in the oven until they pop open and start to ooze a little bit of juice. Once roasted, the cranberries only need to cool for a few minutes before they can be added to the batter.
The muffins have a lightly sweetened vanilla and coconut base that is a wonderful backdrop for the roasted cranberries. The batter is put together in a slightly unusual way to allow a portion of the dry ingredients to double as a streusel topping for the muffins, so don’t be alarmed if the method for making these muffins is different than what you’re used to. The muffins are moist and tender, with a dense crumb that holds the cranberries in place and ensures you get both berries and coconut in every bite.
The roasted cranberries may “bleed” into the batter as you fold them in, so try not to overwork the batter and only stir it enough to distribute the cranberries. The muffins can be eaten as soon as they come out of the oven, but will keep well for 2-3 days after baking if stored in an airtight container.
Roasted Cranberry Coconut Muffins
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
6 tbsp butter, room temperature
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup milk (any kind), hot
3/4 cup shredded coconut
1 cup roasted cranberries
Preheat to 350F.
Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.
In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add 1 cup of the flour mixture to the butter mixture and beat until everything is sandy. Remove 1/2 cup of the butter-flour mixture and transfer to a small bowl for the streusel topping.
Add all of the remaining flour mixture to the bowl with the butter-flour mixture and beat until ingredients are well-combined. Add in egg and vanilla extract and mix until egg is incorporated. Continuing to stir, pour in hot milk and mix until batter is smooth. Stir in shredded coconut and roasted cranberries.
Divide batter evenly into 12-muffin cups. Sprinkle streusel mixture over the tops of the muffins
Bake for 16-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the muffin comes out clean and the tops spring back when lightly pressed. Transfer muffins to a wire rack to cool completely.